All Aboard Harvest | Laura: 2018 Intro
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Laura: 2018 Intro

Laura: 2018 Intro

Hello, All Aboard Wheat Harvest world!  How has life treated you since we last met a few short months ago?

It’s been a strange spring here in west central Kansas.  It often seemed that winter would never end. It took until the end of the first week of May for the warm weather to be consistently in the 70s and 80s.  In fact, at that time, leaves were just starting to pop out and seemed a little scared to finally emerge after several false starts!  As a result, its been a little hard to wrap my head around the approaching season.

The crew has been very busy getting all the equipment prepared for the upcoming season.  We run late model John Deere combines, John Deere tractors, grain carts with scales, Shelbourne stripper headers as well as draper headers, and a fleet of trucks.  It won’t be long before equipment gets loaded.  Typically, our run starts in Texas and moves north through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Montana, and North Dakota.  We anticipate harvest to kick off soon in north Texas.

HPH-2016-North Dakota (Laura)
2016 harvest in North Dakota.

Since this is the first post of the season, it is that time where we give you a little reminder how we came to be. Many of you know our story, but for those of you who don’t, here’s a very abbreviated recap.  I’m not a “cradle harvester”, and all I knew about the business was what I saw going down the road in the summers, or from my childhood friends who were custom harvesters.  My husband, on the other hand, had family involved in harvesting when he was a young boy.  He later went with a local crew during his teens to early twenties.  Ryan also worked with harvest support in the US and abroad.  Harvest is in his blood.  I still remember exactly where I was in my science classroom when I got the call from Ryan that the crew he had once worked for was transitioning to full-time farming and Ryan had the opportunity to take over the harvest crew. To say that moment changed our life is an understatement.  High Plains Harvesting was born, and we have been riding the roller coaster that is the adventure of entrepreneurship ever since.

HPH - Ryan On Combine 1998
This photo is from twenty years ago in 1998. Ryan can be found on the cab roof while lifelong friend Jess, poses on the header. They were starting the year in southern Oklahoma. Fourteen years later, Ryan headed south for the first time after taking over the crew.

 

HPH-Gray County Road Dept 2002
Laura’s summer job during and right after high school was mowing ditches for the Gray County Road Department in Cimarron, Kansas. There was lots of time to think during those days on the back country roads, but never once did it cross her mind that she would have a fleet of green heading south for harvest ten years later. Laura is in the white shirt and her lifelong friend, Jessi wears blue in this snap from 2002.

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Laura)
Ryan and Laura pictured together summer 2017.

Speaking of rollercoaster, things are looking tough for the first half of the season.  Weather related issues have not been kind to our farmers this winter.  Drought in Texas and drought and fires in Oklahoma have drastically cut or eliminated wheat acres in those states.  Awhile back, a massive hail storm starting in Colorado and traveled through parts of Kansas took many of our anticipated acres in western Kansas.  We typically have one maybe two stops a year that experience weather related hardship, but this year is unprecedented.  I wish I had something more uplifting to report in celebration of the ten-year anniversary of All Aboard Wheat Harvest, but this unfortunately is part of a harvester’s tale.  Some years are good, some bad, and some ugly.  Yes, this is starting to look like a “character building” year, but we will continue to keep the faith, and do what we can to keep serving our customers.

High Plains Harvesting (Photo Credit: Laura)
This 2017 capture may be Laura’s personal favorite weather/harvest shot of all time. It helps to have those feelings because as fierce as the storm looked, it caused little damage. They aren’t as fortunate this season as much of the southern and part of central run has been damaged or completed eliminated by hail, drought, or wildfires.

Despite uncertain times, we will have so much to be thankful for.  I look forward to future posts with Lady A and Little Man, crew introductions, and of course, harvest itself.  Thanks for joining us for the 10th year of All Aboard!  We look forward to sharing our story and hearing from you!

High Plains Harvesting 2017 (Laura)
Little Man and Lady A watching the lass passes in eastern Colorado in 2017.

All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and John Deere. Laura can be reached at laura@allaboardharvest.com.

22 Comments
  • Frank dietrich
    Posted at 08:50h, 02 June Reply

    Good luck with harvest 18 from Lucan Ontario Canada

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 17:24h, 02 June Reply

      Thanks, Frank! We appreciate it! 🙂

  • Jessica keller
    Posted at 08:59h, 02 June Reply

    Interesting weather for sure! I love all the photos in this post! Have a wonderful summer!

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 17:25h, 02 June Reply

      Thanks, Jessica! We sure miss seeing you around!

  • Norm Rotruck
    Posted at 09:40h, 02 June Reply

    Nice to hear from you, again and sorry that weather conditions make 2018 look gloomy. Have a good one and will pray for the best!

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 18:24h, 03 June Reply

      Thanks, Norm! We appreciate the prayers!

  • Nancy Eberts
    Posted at 14:24h, 02 June Reply

    Wonderful story and fablous pictures, you told it like it is! Thank you hope to see you somewhere out there

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 18:25h, 03 June Reply

      Thanks, Nancy! Gotta keep it real! 😉 Hope we see you out west too. I’ll need a good lady laugh fest by then! 🙂

  • Georgia Keel
    Posted at 18:29h, 02 June Reply

    Good luck this year in the field and on the roads. Our weather has been crazy too. We had snow flurries the first of May and the temperature in the 90’s by end of the month.

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 00:00h, 06 June Reply

      Thanks Georgia! Sounds like crazy weather everywhere!

  • Jon Wick
    Posted at 23:28h, 02 June Reply

    I worked the harvest from Texas to North Dakota for two years in a row when I was 16-18 years old. I’m in my 60″s now and I enjoy your posts. Please keep writing. JW

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 00:01h, 06 June Reply

      Thanks for writing in Jon! I hope these posts will bring back fond memories!

  • John Rowland
    Posted at 04:06h, 03 June Reply

    Good luck from an arable farmer in northern England- love the photographs

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 00:02h, 06 June Reply

      Photography is a passion of mine so I’m so pleased to hear you enjoy the photographs, John! Have a good one!

  • Graeme Leigh
    Posted at 04:19h, 03 June Reply

    Good luck with harvest from a white and snowy South Island New Zealand!

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 18:26h, 03 June Reply

      Thanks, Graeme! Hope you and the family are well! We are far from cold here! Been around 102 F!

  • Tom Stegmeier
    Posted at 20:35h, 03 June Reply

    Thanks so much for the post, yes here Cochrane AB. it was the third snowiest winter since 1889 , a winter that wanted to stay around for ever!! Here in southern Alberta we went from a slow cold spring to 85f & a Santa Anna wind in a couple of days, then we are drier than a popcorn fart. We picked up 3/4 in last week ,a blessing and then some with the fires in the area How’s Little Man doing ? All the best on the 2018 run , Work Safe !!

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 22:44h, 03 June Reply

      Drier than a popcorn fart! Its been awhile since I heard that one! Made my night an made me laugh out loud! Thanks, Tom, needed that! Although I’m sorry its been drier than a popcorn fart up there. Those fires can get real scary real fast. Prayers that they’re out. Little Man is doing great and so is Lady A. They’re having a grand time here in Texas. More on them soon!

  • Patty Nicholas
    Posted at 08:18h, 05 June Reply

    Harvest time brings back memories of spending time on Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. I would sometimes ride along to the elevator in Halstead with my Dad when he drove the wheat truck for Grandpa. Sending prayers for safe travels to your crew and all the harvesting crews out there

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 00:03h, 06 June Reply

      Thanks so much, Patty! I hope you have peace in the memories of your dad and harvest. Hope to catch up with you soon at church!

  • Dean Taton
    Posted at 08:51h, 05 June Reply

    Hoping you have the best 2018 harvest possible, for you , your crew, your customers and all the grain elevators and support crews you use. This from a guy who was on the unloading side of your trucks for 45 years.

    • Laura Haffner
      Posted at 00:05h, 06 June Reply

      Dean, the elevator crew are some of the heros of harvest. That is a hot, dusty job. Bless you for your hard work for 45 years! Thanks for the well wishes!

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